Lan Jia Gua Bao: The best Gua Bao in Taipei, Taiwan

Lan Jia Gua Bao in Taipei, Taiwan
Lan Jia Gua Bao in Taipei, Taiwan

If you are looking for the best gua bao in Taipei, you go to one place, Lan Jia Gua Bao. Gua bao, sometimes called the Taiwanese hamburger, is usually made by stuffing a steamed bun with braised pork belly, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and peanut powder.

Nowhere prepares this popular Taiwanese snack better than Lan Jia Gua Bao. Popular with locals, tourists, and pork lovers, you will usually find a line of hungry people waiting patiently out front of this tiny restaurant and street food cart.

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Small Cart

Small cart out front for take away orders
Small cart out front for take away orders

Out front of the restaurant was a small cart. If you don’t feel like waiting for a table to sit down at, you can grab a gua bao or corn spareribs soup from the cart to go and eat on the street.

If you order from the cart, stand in the correct line. On my visit, there were two lines, one for the cart and one for the tables behind the cart.

Interior of Lan Jia Gua Bao

Interior of the small restaurant
Interior of the small restaurant

Behind the cart was a small open room with every table taken. Friendly workers in green aprons were taking orders and running around with food. Luckily, as soon as I walked in, a table opened up. It seemed like most people would eat and move on, so with a high turnover, the wait for a table was never too long.

The d├ęcor was simple, with white walls and bright lights. But I didn’t come here for the decor. I was here for the tasty Taiwanese food.

Lan Jia Gua Bao Menu

The menu at Lan Jia Gua Bao, Taipei, Taiwan
The menu at Lan Jia Gua Bao

I was happy to see an English menu with pictures, which made ordering much easier.

You will find an assortment of soups with pig intestines, a corn spareribs soup, rice tamale, and the famous steamed pork bun on the menu.

Everyone comes here for the gua bao, and this is what you want to order, but I also recommend their corn spareribs soup.

Corn Spareribs Soup

Corn Spareribs Soup, Lan Jia Gua Bao, Taipei, Taiwan
Corn Spareribs Soup

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered the Corn Spareribs Soup (60 TWD or about $2.00).

The soup was simple, with chunks of pork spareribs and sweet corn in a light, golden broth. For something so simple, the flavors of the broth surprised me.

The broth had a distinct sweet flavor, as if it had simmered for hours in fresh sweet corn. Even though it was sweet, the broth was well balanced with the salty flavors from the pork.

If the broth wasn’t sweet enough, floating in the broth were large chunks of fresh sweet corn along with pork spareribs.

The bright yellow sweet corn kernels were crispy yet tender and, you guessed it, added more sweetness to the soup.

Thick pieces of salty pork spareribs complemented the rather sweet broth and corn. The easiest way to eat the ribs was to pick each piece up with my hands and rip the meat off the bone like a caveman. The pork, tender with just the right texture, was a good mix of meaty and fatty.

While gua bao might be the king of Lan Jia Gua Bao, I was pleasantly surprised by the flavors and textures of the corn spareribs soup.

Gua Bao (Steamed Pork Bun)

The best Gua Bao (Steamed Pork Bun) in Taipei, Lan Jia Gua Bao in Taipei, Taiwan
The best Gua Bao (Steamed Pork Bun) in Taipei

I was extremely excited to finally try the Gua Bao (55 TWD or about $1.83), served in a small plastic bag.

With my gua bao order, I had the option of fatty pork, lean pork, half and half, partial lean pork, or partial fatty pork. Almost everyone orders the half-fat and half-lean, which has the most flavor. I ordered this and recommend it for a first-time visitor.

Inside the bright white steamed bun were thick pieces of fatty and lean pork, pickled cabbage, peanut powder, and coriander or cilantro.

The thick and sticky steamed bun was unlike any other I have had before. It was so delicate and fluffy. The flavor was neutral, with a hint of sweetness. Though light, the bun managed to hold its texture as it soaked up all the delicious juices of the pork.

What set this gua bao apart from all the others in Taipei was the rich braised pork. Both the lean and fatty pieces of pork had so much flavor with the perfect combination of salty and sweet. The tender, lean pieces had the right texture and bite, while the soft, flavorful, fatty pieces melted in my mouth. It was truly amazing.

The pickled mustard greens, sweet from being braised in the same liquid as the pork, added acidity and texture to the gua bao. The crushed peanut powder added a crunchy texture to each bite and even more sweetness. Topping the gua bao off was fresh, aromatic coriander, or cilantro, which makes practically any dish better.

The gua bao at Lan Jia Gua Bao was straight-up delicious. Though on the sweet side, it was well-balanced thanks to the fluffy steamed bun, tender braised pork, salty pickled vegetables, crunchy peanut powder, and fresh cilantro.

I’m hungry just thinking about it.

When I finished eating, I paid at the front.

Service at Lan Jia Gua Bao

All the Lan Jia Gua Bao workers moved quickly around the restaurant, ensuring people ordered and received their food as fast as possible. After receiving your order, eat and move on. There is nothing fancy here, and there is no table service.

I enjoyed how friendly the lady at the front was, who I assumed was the boss. She always seemed to have a smile on her face, even while dealing with crowds of people moving in and out.

Conclusion

Gua bao is at the top of my list of must-try foods in Taipei. It’s the king of Taiwanese snacks, and nowhere else does it better than Lan Jia Gua Bao.

The flavor and texture of the pork were outrageous. All packed inside a hot, fresh, steamed bun. If you are looking for the best gua bao in Taipei, look no further than Lan Jia Gua Bao.

And I can’t forget the sweet and salty corn spareribs soup, which was equally delicious.

Hours

Tuesday - Sunday: 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Monday: Closed

Address

No. 3, Alley 8, Lane 316, Section 3, Luosifu Road, Zhongzheng District,
Taipei City, Taiwan 100
GPS Coordinates: 25.015749,121.532559

Map



Last Updated on April 13, 2024

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Anthony
My name is Anthony and I am addicted to traveling all around the world experiencing new people, cultures, and foods. These are some of my stories.